Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, on surprising developments in the south of the borough where tactical voting could come into play
Labour’s candidate in Croydon South, long regarded as a true-blue Conservative constituency, this morning issued a plea to Liberal Democrats and Green voters to lend her their vote in tomorrow’s General Election in order to unseat hard Brexit Tory Chris Philp as their MP.
“This is a once in a lifetime chance, and a real opportunity to stop Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit,” said Olga FitzRoy.
Labour rookie parliamentary candidate FitzRoy was making her appeal after overnight YouGov polling in the constituency showed the Tory vote share down to 47 per cent, with Labour up to 38 per cent, the LibDems on 11 per cent and Greens on 3 per cent.
When Philp inherited the Croydon South seat in 2015, he enjoyed a 17,000-vote majority, with 54.5 per cent of the vote. Philp’s majority had dwindled to 11,406 by 2017, in the face of peak Corbynmania.
Philp started the 2019 General Election campaign rated as a 1/100 betting certainty to hold Croydon South, but those latest YouGov figures suggest that tomorrow, Philp’s majority could be more than halved to less than 6,000 votes. And that’s even though the Brexit Party stood down in Croydon South so as not to hamper the Boris Johnson-backed Tory candidate.
With an ad hoc Remain “alliance” of LibDem and Green votes, on yesterday’s polling figures, FitzRoy even has a chance of landing a huge election shock.
Philp was out at Croydon South railway station this morning, diligently handing out leaflets and trying to convince commuters that he didn’t say what he said on live television yesterday about NHS cancer patients who do not “really care” about longer waiting times for treatment.
It was the latest of a series of cringe-making interviews which Philp has given recently, since abandoning his support for Remain and backing Bullshit Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, an ideological transformation which coincided with Philp being given a promotion to a junior minister position.
“The latest polling shows that tactical voting can really beat the Tories here in Croydon South,” FitzRoy said today.
“Only a vote for Labour can stop Boris Johnson.
“I’d urge all Liberal Democrat and Green voters to put tribal differences aside tomorrow and vote for me as the only candidate with a chance of ousting the Tories in Croydon South.
“I’m a passionate Remain supporter who will campaign hard for Remain if we get a final say on Brexit.
“Please don’t gift Croydon South to the Tories. This really is a once in a lifetime chance.”
Key during tomorrow’s Get Out The Vote Operation of both Labour and Conservatives in Croydon South could be how much resource they have spare, with most party activists being asked to help in the neighbouring Croydon Central marginal seat, where Labour’s Sarah Jones is defending a 5,000-vote majority from 2017.
YouGov’s polling in Croydon Central last night shows Jones on 49per cent there, with the egregiously ambitious Mario Creatura on only 39per cent – down 3.4per cent on the Tories’ 2017 vote. That suggests a 5,700-vote majority for Jones tomorrow – little changed from when she won the seat two years ago.
In Croydon South, Philp has often struck a lonely figure during the election campaign, with many of his party colleagues leafleting on behalf of Creatura in Croydon Central.
Labour, too, thanks to some typically woeful judgement shown by Town Hall leader Tony Newman, has tended to overlook its Croydon South campaign at the expense of Central.
Neither Peter Underwood, the Green Party candidate in Croydon South, nor Anna Jones, the Surrey resident standing for the LibDems, said that they would support a Remain alliance in the constituency when questioned on the subject in our Under The Flyover virtual hustings podcast earlier this month.
But that was before FitzRoy had got so close in polling to unseating the Tories.
The next 24 hours could prove very interesting.
Listen to our Under The Flyover Election podcasts with these Croydon South candidates:
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